PETA's Twitter call for an end to "anti-animal" language is drawing a combination of ridicule and condemnation.
In a tweet Tuesday that has now gone viral, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals warned against using "speciesist" phrases, and proposed alternatives.
"Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon," the animal rights organization tweeted Tuesday.
The suggestions didn't stop at bagels: PETA tweeted a chart of "anti-animal" phrases with possible correctives.
Instead of saying "kill two birds with one stone," the organization wrote, why not "feed two birds with one scone?" In place of taking "the bull by the horns," how about taking "the flower by the thorns?"
"Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it," PETA said. "Here's how to remove 'speciesism' from your daily conversations."
Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations. pic.twitter.com/o67EbBA7H4— PETA (@peta) December 4, 2018
Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon.— PETA (@peta) December 4, 2018
The internet laughed, and objected.
"Any chance you had of getting my respect is gone @peta," one Twitter user wrote. "This tweet of yours, equating “speciesism” with racism, homophobia and ableism is deeply disturbing."
Critics said the tweets diminished violence against people of color, the LGBTQ community and individuals with disabilities. The Root called it the "whitest tweet ever."
I’m sorry did PETA just compare the phrase “bring home the bacon” to racism or am I reading this wrong https://t.co/PtguMwrNUy— Noemi Rodriguez (@NoemiRodriguez_) December 5, 2018
coming from a vegetarian: this reduces the harmfulness of homophobia and transphobia and racism by equating it to verbal animal abuse, and I hate it— crabapplebees (@ShilohTheOcean) December 5, 2018
Other Twitter users ridiculed PETA's reworked phrases.
"feed two birds with one scone" has broken my brain i'm going to die laughing https://t.co/dYj9UrYhAx— julia reinstein 🚡 (@juliareinstein) December 4, 2018
Ok I'm *pretty* into animals and *very* into not eating meat and I still think this is a *little* extreme.— Lizzie (@LizzieTao) December 5, 2018
I will, however, be saying "feed two birds with one scone" from now on because the imagery is hilarious. https://t.co/vbeGG7SzGo
BRING HOME THE BAGELS— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) December 4, 2018
Some pointed out that PETA probably has bigger fish to fry...oops. French fries to fry? Doughnuts to fry?
Is this really the fight? Like of all the problems we face... you want us to “bring home the bagels”.... k I’ll remember that when climate changes wipes out humanity, at least i didn’t offend my dinner... pic.twitter.com/IFmGV0wUpL— Trevor Ehlenbach (@TrevorEhlenbach) December 5, 2018
It's not the first time PETA has been criticized while engaging marginalized communities.
Last year, while encouraging people to stop drinking milk and #ditchdairy after white supremacists called the drink a celebration of their European heritage, the organization compared white supremacists and "human supremacists."
"That should make racists think twice," PETA wrote on its website. "All we can say is this: Human supremacists need to start thinking about other species’ interests in not being exploited."
PETA responded to the criticism Wednesday, asking the "haters" to "lighten up" and for more suggestions on anti-speciesist language.
To the haters: with so much negativity in the world, why not lighten up and use language in a way that encourages being kind to animals? 😻— PETA (@peta) December 5, 2018
To everyone else: add your own anti-speciesist phrases below!
Curiosity thrilled the cat (not killed)
Eat snow (not crow) https://t.co/4p2htgMfrc
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: PETA ridiculed, criticized for comparing 'speciesism' with racism, homophobia and ableism